Over the last few years, I’ve worked with brands that have spent thousands to create great content. In fact, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on content of my own. This isn’t to say everyone should spend thousands on content, but it is my belief that an investment is definitely necessary. A mentor always told me, you have to spend money to make money so that’s what I’m suggesting you do. Here’s why:
- Your Competitors Will: As social media and content marketing become more and more mainstream, your competitors are either already using these channels or building a plan to capitalize on them.
- Content Lasts Forever: A billboard has a shelf life while a blog post; infographic or unique tool can last for years to come.
- Compelling Storytelling: Whether we like it or not, humans as a species make more decisions based on emotions than logic. You have an opportunity to build an emotional connection with your audience through your content.
That’s all to it. That’s why I think it’s important to cough up dough for content. I recognize that not everyone has a million dollar budget, which is why I’m writing this blog post. I’m writing it to help you understand that you don’t need the big budgets to find content marketing success. All you need is the drive, the will and a commitment to putting in some hours to make it happen.
To start, I always like to remind people how important it is to identify their goals. Don’t make the mistake of confusing business goals with digital goals. Business goals are where everything starts. It’s the reason why you’re using social media, it’s the reason you’re creating content and it’s the reason you want to do marketing in the first place.
Goals are an important part of any digital strategy and one that you should spend a lot of time thinking about. Identify goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based. One you’ve done this and established a clear approach to how you’ll achieve your goals, you can start discussing effective ways to craft compelling content:
Use Reactive Storytelling
Some people call it newsjacking. I call it reactive storytelling. It’s the concept of taking a top of mind story and combining it with a compelling marketing message. An example of reactive storytelling in action can be found during the 2012 Super Bowl when a cookie changed the game.
You see, at half time during the super bowl, Beyoncé performed with Destiny’s Child and the show went off without a hitch. A few minutes alter and before the game got back underway, the unthinkable happened, the lights in the stadium went off and the stadium and thousands of attendees were left in darkness. The game was put on hold for a few minutes and advertisers begun to panic as people changed the channel and started browsing Facebook. But not one brand. Nope, one brand was fast to act and took advantage of this black out by putting up the following post:
That post went on to win Cannes and be crowned the Super Bowl marketing winner. The idea here was simply to leverage something that was top of mind and put a unique marketing spin on it. Since this post, there have been many brands leveraging this opportunity as they’ve recognized that it’s one of the key ingredients to making viral content.
Connect With Social Influencers
Whether you care to admit it or not, the power of relationships is what differentiates successful businesses and those that fail (tweet this). Relationships with suppliers, relationships with customers, and relationships with colleagues all play a role in making a business work.
Relationships with bloggers is one of the newest types of relationships that marketers cannot ignore. There are a handful of bloggers who have become just as influential as those who were once called grade A journalists. Sure, their style is different and the content they write isn’t always up to “journalism standards”, but the influence that these bloggers have cannot be ignored.
As an example, a few months ago, the daughter of Kimberly Reynolds also known as @QRKim shared a story about the Girl Scouts stopping her from selling girl guide cookies online. Robert Caruso a fellow guest blogger on Steamfeed.com and founder of Bundlepost caught wave of this story and published a post titled “Social Media Fail – @GirlScouts Crush A Girl’s Social Good, Then Make It Worse!”.
The internet went wild. The blog post was shared more than 8,000 times and was picked up by MSN & Forbes. The Girl Scouts couldn’t ignore the backlash and issued a statement surrounding the ordeal. That’s the new age power of bloggers and why relationships matter.
Here are a couple ways to build stronger relationships with influencers:
- Connect on Twitter: Follow social influencers and share their content. Mention them in your tweets and engage with them not like a celebrity but as a peer. It’s through this interaction that will lead to a meaningful relationship.
- Submit Guest Posts: In a world where people have thousands of names in their address book, it’s great to establish familiarity. One way to do this is by submitting guest posts to popular sites or those sites that belong to the actual influencer. In doing so, you benefit from a new audience and increasing the chances of being remembered.
As I highlighted earlier in this post, it really needs to start with your goals. Without goals, even the greatest marketers and growth hackers around can fail. If you don’t understand your goals, the size of your budget doesn’t matter.
Money can help but at the end of the day, success in marketing is accomplished through creativity, hard work and strategic thinking. If you can check off two of these three items you’ll be further ahead than most.
What are some other efficient ways to drive content marketing success?
Ross, I love this. Right in line with something I’ve been saying of late as well: we should strive for a relationship with our prospects, not simply copping a feel.